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Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838) wrote the words for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's greatest - Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte. But this librettist's own life was scandalous enough to make an opera in its own right.
In 1828, at the age of 79, Da Ponte became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Five years later, he founded America's first opera house - the New York Opera Company. Owing to his lack of business acumen, however, it lasted only two seasons before it was disbanded and the theatre sold to pay the company's debts. It was, however, the predecessor of the New York Academy of Music and the Metropolitan Opera.
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